Wealth and Wisdom: Week of May 13, 2024

First-quarter earnings season is wrapping up – and profits are holding up better than expected. With 80% of S&P 500 companies reporting, earnings are up about 5% over the same period last year – with few surprises. The Fed’s decision to keep interest rates higher for longer apparently isn’t hurting business as much as feared, which probably explains the quick turnaround from April’s market pullback.

You’re going to breeze through this week’s letter – full of brief but important news items this week that you should be aware of.

A one-year reprieve for Social Security

Strong jobs growth means more money going into Social Security and Medicare – extending the life expectancy of both programs. (Reading time: 3 minutes)

Banks are feeling the pressure

Higher interest rates and commercial real estate loans are squeezing small and regional banks – and the Fed says some will likely fail. (Reading time: 1 minutes)

The pandemic piggy bank is empty

Americans were able to save more than $2 trillion during the Covid-related economic shutdown – but now that extra money has been spent. Now what? (Reading time: 2 minutes)

How government borrowing affects your portfolio

Here’s a useful primer on the nation’s debt crisis – and how it’s likely cutting into your own investment returns. (Reading time: 8 minutes)

Making the best of higher interest rates

It’s becoming less and less likely that the Fed will cut interest rates this year – but there are some ways you can turn higher rates to your advantage. (Reading time: 3 minutes)

Women are now driving the workforce

In the history of the U.S., there has never been a time when a greater percentage of working-age women were employed. (Reading time: 1 minutes)

Renting is cheaper than buying – almost everywhere

A new survey shows that it costs less to rent a home versus buying one – in all 50 states and every major U.S. city. (Reading time: 3 minutes)

Most of the economy is in ‘private markets’

Investors like to obsess about the S&P 500, but 80% of jobs – and nearly 90% of employers – are private companies. (Reading time: 1 minutes)

A clever trick to save more

If you get paid every two weeks, you’ll receive two ‘extra’ paychecks this year. Here’s how to take advantage of them. (Reading time: 5 minutes)

Is a Roth conversion right for you?

Roth IRA conversions have become a hot topic in recent years. Here’s how we’re helping clients decide if it’s a good idea. (Viewing time: 59 minutes)

Words to the Wise

“Debt defines your future, and when your future is defined, hope begins to die.”

– Kent Nerburn

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